Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

IoT malware attacks rise in 2019, says SonicWall

Steve Rogerson
February 6, 2020



IoT malware is up year-on-year by 4.8% to 34.3 million attacks, including a Q3 jump of 33%, according to this year’s SonicWall Threat Report published this week. Overall, malware attacks fell by 6% to 9.9bn.
 
“As the fallout around the Huawei decision rumbles on, the concerns around network security have been forced into wider public discourse,” said spokesperson Jordan Ratcliffe. “With 30.7 billion connected devices in 2020, the internet of things encompasses much more than your smart music system or interactive fridge. Increasingly, it is forming the structural bedrock behind critical national infrastructure.”
 
Now, the report finds that attacks on these devices are on the rise. After seeing a 33% growth in the first half of last year, the total for 2019 was 4.8% higher year on year.
 
Other findings include:

  • Web app attacks doubled in 2019 (52%) to 40.8 million;
  • Ransomware attacks fell by 9% to almost 188m;
  • Malware attacks fell by 6% to 9.9bn (see picture);
  • Total intrusion attempts reached four trillion; and
  • Encrypted threats saw a 27% rise to 3.7m.
“Perimeter-based security, whereby traditional defensive layers keep threats out, has been the modus operandi for decades,” said Ratcliffe. “It is, unfortunately, outdated for hackers’ techniques today.”
 
The report provides critical threat intelligence to help organisations better understand how cybercriminals think.
 
In 2018, cyber criminals and threat actors began to dial back untargeted salvos in favour of more surgical attacks against softer targets. This approach, says the report, was even more recognisable in 2019 as total volume waned, but attacks were more evasive with higher degrees of success, particularly against the healthcare industry, and state, provincial and local governments.
 
In 2019, SonicWall technology discovered 153,909 never-before-seen malware variants. Each year, it leverages proprietary machine learning capabilities to become efficient at recognising and mitigating cyber attacks never seen by anyone in the cyber-security industry.
 
In 2019, SonicWall researchers discovered a moderate 5% increase in IoT malware, with total volume reaching 34.3m attacks. But with a deluge of new IoT devices connecting each day, increases in IoT malware attacks should not only be expected, but planned for, says the report.